Tree and Brush Work Time

Into every woodland and chaparral property, some tree and brush work must fall. And late July is a good time - the plants are dry, so cutting won't open them up to infection, and the birds have finished nesting. Recently we had a culling and clearing around the property, hiring a tree firm, Los Primos, to do the work.

On the south slope we had dead wood removed.

On the north slope, mostly bay tree removal. In the center are resprouting bay trees. I don't have a picture of them gone - Maybe in the next post.

Close up of a bay tree getting too big, just behind the pool fence

Here's the bay tree at a distance - doesn't look so large but, it was actually growing fast
Behind and amid the bay tree, some light-deprived madrones, now visible - we hope they will thrive now

On the north - woodland - slope, sadly, we removed all California bay trees. Previously removed trees that regrew we had trimmed back to stumps and treated (with high nitrogen fertilizer).

The reasons: I have found California bay laurel trees to be "weedy" on our property. They grow often and vigorously and tall. And they host the SODS pathogen that kills the native oaks. So I have reluctantly decided to "edit them out" of the landscape on the property that I'm actively managing. There are bay trees beyond, and a huge one on our road, so big I can't get it all in one picture.

part of a bay that rivals a redwood in height - and is very wide too.

I also pruned back the toyon that grows between the pool above and the path that wraps around this north-facing valley (north, north-east, and north-west). This twenty- to thirty-foot wide and horrendously long strip along the north valley is what I'm going to focus on in fall planting - even though it is very weedy, with grasses and other unidentified aggressive things (not natives I know that). I've found that once I just get in there and garden an area, I manage the weeds more actively.

I did all the thinning and clearing of the upper part of the slope myself. The bay showing on the right is gone now.

The area below that upper strip, I will just weed whack to about 15 inches and that's all. I will grit my teeth and take a leaf from Scarlet O'Hara's book, declaring: "I'll think about that tomorrow!" or in my case, "Next year!"

I've been working out what to plant on this strip there - and I've been gathering seed on other nearby similar areas where I have permission to gather, and I'm excited to get going. I'll also put a lot of tried and trusted plants I've been growing for a few years.

In the next post, I'll share my plant list for this area, mostly "restoration" type plants - I have seeds or plants of a lot of plants, locally sourced.

Mr Woodrat doing some trail maintenance behind the toyons


Sue Langley said…
Hi Mouse, boy have I missed reading your blog. Just getting more time to do everything and very happy! It's hard work but I love the result of pruning and grooming the trees and shrubs that 'bother me' on the place. I'm usually so happy with the result.
I found when restoring an area, raking some native leaf litter over the area like a light layer of muclh started more sprouts than untreated areas. Maybe that would work on your bare slope.

Now that Google reader is gone, there a way to subscribe to your blog by email? Thanks! Sue
Country Mouse said…
Hi Sue, yes, I've been sporadic in my blog reading - I catch you on facebook and it reminds me to go see what's happening in your neck of the sierras!. I do have some native leaf litter to spread - I had been thinking about using it on paths, but I like your thinking. I think you can subscribe to the blog via gmail, but I'm not sure how you do that. I actually keep a bookmark menu for blogs to go check in with so I'm not doing things the proper way I guess. I've been having a lot of interesting ideas about this slope - when I'm not so busy I'll write part 2 of this post. Thanks for giving me your support with the difficult business (for me) of changing the landscape. I've also been having interesting thoughts about this, per some recent reading I've been doing. So much to blog about - so little time!